Episode 124: “The Abolition of Man” by C. S. Lewis, Ch. 1
On The Literary Life podcast this week, our hosts begin a much-anticipated series on The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis. Angelina, Thomas, and Cindy share their commonplace quotes to open the discussion, then they give some background on this particular work. They talk about the ideas behind the “new criticism” approach to literature and why it is so problematic. Angelina and Thomas expand on the significance of the concept of the sublime. Cindy shares some thoughts on learning to identify and to produce good writing. Angelina helps us connect Lewis’ points about ordo amoris with our current day dilemmas. Other topics touched on in their conversation are the nature of objective reality, the tripartite soul, the medieval view of Reason, debunking the ideal of honor, and so much more.
Join us this spring for our next Literary Life Conference “The Battle Over Children’s Literature” featuring special guest speaker Vigen Guroian. The live online conference will take place April 7-9, 2022, and you can go to HouseofHumaneLetters.com for more information.
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The modern state exists not to protect our rights but to do us good or make us good–anyway, to do something to us or make us something. Hence the new name “leaders” for those who were once “rulers.” We are less their subjects than their wards, pupils, or domestic animals. There is nothing left of which we can say to them, “Mind your own business.” Our whole lives are their business.C. S. Lewis, from “Is Progress Possible?”
It is good for a professional to be reminded that his professionalism is only a husk, that the real person must remain an amateur, a lover of the work.May Sarton
In truth, he wished to command the respect at once of courtiers and of philosophers, to be admired for attaining high dignities, and to be at the same time respected for despising them.Thomas Macaualy
Duty Surviving Self-Love, The Only Sure Friend Of Declining Life. A Soliloquy
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Unchanged within, to see all changed without, Is a blank lot and hard to bear, no doubt. Yet why at others' Wanings should'st thou fret? Then only might'st thou feel a just regret, Hadst thou withheld thy love or hid thy light In selfish forethought of neglect and slight. O wiselier then, from feeble yearnings freed, While, and on whom, thou may'st--shine on! nor heed Whether the object by reflected light Return thy radiance or absorb it quite: And tho' thou notest from thy safe recess Old Friends burn dim, like lamps in noisome air, Love them for what they are; nor love them less, Because to thee they are not what they were.
The History of England from the Accession of James II by Thomas Macaulay
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis
God in the Dock by C. S. Lewis
That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis
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Rhionah Ntongo Ssemakula
This made me want to weep by the end of the episode. Thank you so much for such a convicting and engaging discussion. Thank you so much Cindy for pointing out how Lewis really tried to live out the code he espoused at the end.
Fanny Price really seems to be a good example of someone whose sentiments were properly trained, and whose feelings were consistent with virtue and reality.